The effect of Tribulus terrestris extract on motility and viability of human sperms after cryopreservation

Cryobiology. 2017 Apr;75:154-159. doi: 10.1016/j.cryobiol.2017.02.005. Epub 2017 Feb 17.


Background: Semen cryopreservation produces significant amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which may lead to impairment of sperm morphology, function, and ultimately, male fertility. Since Tribulus terrestris has antioxidant and free-radical-scavenging properties, this study aims to reveal the effect of the Tribulus terrestris extract on motility and vitality of human sperms after cryopreservation.

Materials and methods: Semen specimens from 80 healthy volunteers were divided into eight groups: fresh control (group I), freeze control (group II), groups III, IV, and V, which had 20, 40, and 50 μg/mL doses of Tribulus terrestris extract added before cryopreservation, and groups VI, VII, and VIII, which were supplemented by these extract doses after the freeze-thaw process. To evaluate the effects of the Tribulus terrestris extract, the semen samples were incubated with the extract and evaluated with a light microscope for motility and viability.

Results: After cryopreservation, a significant improvement in spermatozoa viability was observed in group VII. In groups VII and VIII, motility, according to World Health Organization (WHO) criteria, increased considerably (p < 0.001). There was no significant difference among groups III, IV, and V.

Conclusion: The present study demonstrated that the protective effects of Tribulus terrestris, which improves human sperm motility and viability, may be due to its antioxidant properties. On the basis of the results, the researchers concluded that Tribulus terrestris can be used as a safe therapeutic alternative to current modalities for the management of motility dysfunction in males.

Keywords: Cryopreservation; Human sperm; Motility; Reactive oxygen species; Tribulus terrestris; Viability.

MeSH terms

  • Cryopreservation / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Semen Preservation / methods*
  • Sperm Motility / drug effects*
  • Spermatozoa / drug effects
  • Tribulus


  • Plant Extracts